Frequently Asked Questions

1. Getting Started

4. How to start and manage a Group

2. Help with Trading

5. Additional Help Topics

3. How do I join and organize contests?

1 Getting Started

Do I have to pay to join?

No. There is no cost or risk to joining!

Is the money in my portfolio real?

No. The money in your portfolio is virtual money that you can use to improve your investing skills.

Can I see other members' portfolios?

No. You cannot see other members' portfolios for now, but we're working on a way to make part of the portfolio data available to members.

Can I share my trades with other members?

No. You cannot share your trades with other members, but you can form a group and manage a group portfolio together. This is a great way to work closely with other talented investors.

2. Help with Trading

I am brand new to investing, how do I start?

There are hundreds of different investment styles and strategies. Here is a basic way to get started:

  1. Identify several stocks you want to analyze (these can be companies whose products you are familiar with or that you've read about recently)
  2. Look at their fundamental data (revenues, earnings, etc.) and compare these companies to their competitors. If you know how to, try to make a Free Cash Flow analysis to determine the fair value of the company.
  3. Study recent news coverage of the companies you've chosen and take a look at the recent stock price.
  4. If you think the stock is undervalued (i.e. cheap), then buy it!
  5. Monitor the stock closely and sell at the right moment.

It's important to understand that the goal is about learning how to invest. At times you will pick stocks at the right moment and at other times you may not, but you will learn a lot in the process!

Can I have more than one portfolio?

No. Right now you can only manage one portfolio.

When I trade in my portfolio, I see that there is a commission per trade. Is this a real money commission?

No. The commission is a virtual money commission. It is deducted from the virtual money balance in your portfolio.

Why do you hide the trading price for 15 minutes after I place an order?

Our trading system relies on real-time prices on the real-world stock exchanges. Due to stock exchange regulations we are required to hide real-time prices for 15 minutes. Note, however, that your cash balance will immediately reflect the real-time price you got.

Why can't I see the real-time price before entering a trade?

Even though trades are executed at real-time prices, stock exchange rules require us to delay showing you the price for 15 minutes.

What are the different types of orders?

Our orders work mostly like real-world stock market orders but since we are operating a simulated environment there are a few subtle differences worth keeping in mind.

Market orders

When you enter a market order you are essentially saying: "I'll take whatever the going price is when I enter the order." In our simulated trading environment this means you'll receive the last price that occurred on the real markets at the time you enter the trade. Note that we don't consider "ask" or "bid" offers that might be available in the real world. If you enter a market order after hours you'll receive the opening price on the following trading day. During market hours your order will be executed immediately at real-time prices but due to stock exchange rules on real-time prices, we are unable to show you the price you got until 15 minutes after you enter the trade. Your buying power, however, will immediately be updated according to the actual price you got. Finally note that even if we execute at real-time prices, you will be making your trade decision based on a 15 minute old price (unless you have access to real-time quotes elsewhere). Larger orders for low volume stocks can be subject to partial fills - read more on partial fills here.

You can cancel market orders that you enter after hours as long as the markets have not opened yet. In this case the commission will also be refunded.

If you want to specify the price you want (e.g. protect from the potential price difference in the delayed price and the real-time price), you should consider placing a limit or stop loss order instead of a market order. Unlike market orders, limit orders and stop loss orders are not guaranteed to execute, but if they execute the price is guaranteed.

Limit orders

In contrast to market orders (which guarantee execution but not price), limit orders allow you to set the price - either the maximum amount you're willing to pay (for a buy and "buy to cover" order), or the minimum amount you're willing to receive (for a sell and "sell short" order). Execution of a limit order is not guaranteed.

Of course, if the stock is selling higher than your sell limit order, you'll be filled at your limit price or higher. If the stock's price is lower than your buy limit order, it will be filled at your limit price or lower.

You can choose from "Good for day" and "Good for 60 days" for limit orders. If you enter a limit order after hours and choose "Good for day" it refers to the next whole trading day.

You can cancel limit orders that haven't executed at any time. The commission will be refunded if a limit order does not execute (i.e. if it expires or if you cancel it).

Stop loss orders

Stop loss orders are orders that have "triggers" - they execute only when the stock reaches a certain price. These orders are used to protect a gain on a profitable long or short position, and they are therefore only available for "sell" and "buy to cover" orders.

When you place a stop loss order, you're placing an order that will turn into a market order when the stock reaches the stop price. "Buy to Cover" stop loss orders are set at a price above the current market price. Sell stop loss orders are set at a price below the current market price.

For example, let's say a stock you own is trading at 25 and you place a stop loss sell order at 20. If and when the stock goes to 20 or lower, your order will turn into a market order and fill at whatever the price was for the first trade that was at or below 20. This could be at 20, or slightly lower (e.g. if the first time the price moves at or below 20, it happens to move from 20.01 to 19.99 you will get 19.99 rather than 20.00).

You can cancel stop loss order at any time prior to its execution. The commission will be refunded if a stop loss order does not execute (i.e. if it expires or if you successfully cancel it).

Finally, note that real brokerage platforms often distinguish between stop orders (that turn into market orders when the stop price is reached) and stop limit orders (that turn into limit orders when the stop price is reached) but in our trading system there is no distinction and all stop loss orders are guaranteed to execute if and when the real-world price hits the stop price.

Margin Calls

If you’re holding short positions, you might receive a margin call if your buying power falls below -$10,000. You need to close positions in your portfolio to bring back your buying power above $0, or we will automatically close positions in your portfolio to bring it back to positive buying power.

In the case that you hold a short position in a stock and that stock increases in value, your buying power decreases. If your buying power decreases below -$10,000, we will send you an email asking you to close certain positions in order to get your buying power back to $0 or more.

If the margin call is not settled before 8am on the due date (3 trading days from the day you receive the margin call) or your buying power falls below -$25,000 before the due date, we will automatically close positions in your account to bring your buying power to $0.

We will start with closing positions in your largest position by market value first, as this position is most likely to have caused the margin call. If selling the whole position is not enough to get your buying power back to $0, we continue with the 2nd largest position, etc.

Partial Fills

We only execute trades based on the amount of stocks that are actually traded in the real stock markets.

For market orders, we fill your order based on the number of shares that are traded in the real stock market. For high volume stock, most orders will be executed instantly - but if you want to trade a large quantity of stocks that are rarely traded, it might take some time for the order to be executed in our trading system.

For limit orders, we fill your order based on the number of shares that are traded in the real stock market at a price equal to or better than the limit price you set. The more shares you want to trade, the tighter your limit, and the fewer shares are traded in the real markets, the longer it will take to execute your trade in our trading system.

The final average price of your trade will be the sum of the individual partial trades that make up the order. You can check the individual partial trades in your order history (link to order history).

You can cancel the remaining shares of an order at any time before the total number of shares have been traded.

For partially executed or fully executed trade, we charge the standard commission once. We do not charge a commission for each individual partial fill.

3. How do I join and organize contests?

How do I join a Contest?

To join a contest, go to the Contests tab and look for running contests. Some contests are open for all to join, some require the organizer to approve participants before they can join. There is no limit to how many contests you can participate in.

How do I organize a Contest?

To start a contest, go to the Contests tab and look for the "Start your own contest" box on the right. Click on the "Create Contest" button and follow the instructions provided. You can control who can play in your contest and how long the contest will last. Anyone can start a contest.

How is my ranking determined in contests?

Your ranking is determined by the percent change of your portfolio relative to other contest participants for the duration of the contest. Your performance is recorded from the time when the contest starts or when you join the contest, whichever is later, until markets close on the scheduled end date.

Can I use different portfolios for different contests?

No, you always use the same portfolio for all contests - your personal portfolio.

Do all contests have prizes?

Sponsored contests usually have real-money prizes. We do not endorse prizes for contests organized by members.

4. How to Start and Manage a Group

How to Start and Manage a Group?

Groups provide the ideal online home for both formal and informal investment clubs, providing many benefits to support their activities and to facilitate collaboration among their members.

Groups can either be public (anyone can join) or private (only members you invite can join). Membership and invitations are managed by the Group Administrators.

Once you've created or joined a Group, you can contribute by posting stock tips or by providing feedback on other members' stock tips. Group admins can create and manage a group portfolio and members can easily view the portfolio, and the portfolio performance and stock tips of other members. Note that group portfolios are not eligible for monetary rewards. Members can interact with each other either through the normal comments and private messaging functionality, or by posting topics to the Group Discussion Board. Use the polling feature to let members vote on group stock picks.

To join a Group or create your own, click on the "Groups" tab under the "Community", and select either the "Start a New Group" option or search for existing open Groups to join.

How will investment clubs benefit from creating a group?

Investment clubs can manage their club portfolio, vote on crucial trades, pitch stocks, make announcements, and hold group discussions. They can also compete with and learn from the many other investment clubs in the community.

How can I join a closed group?

If you would like to join a closed group, you can send a message to one of the group administrators, who will choose whether or not to invite you.

5. Additional Help Topics

Why can’t I find a certain stock?

We currently only support stocks from the major exchanges NASDAQ, NYSE, etc. Unfortunately, we don't have support for pink sheet stocks.

We hope to add additional asset classes (options, commodities, foreign stocks, etc.) in the future.

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